How far in advance is too far to book a sit? It’s November 2022 and I was invited to book a sit in Aug 2023. Historically, I have never confirmed a sit more than 3-4 months in advance so although the sit looks great I’m wondering if that such far-in-the-future sit opens up the possibility I might have to back our depending on what happens in the future (unknown work or life future commitments) FYI - I’m a part-time sitter, full-time office worker.
I’d love to hear about other full-time / part-time sitter experiences.
How far in the future are you comfortable booking a sit?
Have you ever canceled a sit?
How long is a piece of string?
It all depends on the owners’ and your circumstances. If you don’t want to book a long way in advance then follow your instincts and don’t. But, don’t go worrying about what might happen as it probably won’t but, if something does, then you can’t do much about it.
I applied for a sit in June this year for August next year (14 months ahead). I did check with the owner that she meant 2023 and not 2022 first! Some people like to plan ahead.
@SitterSandy Although I agree in general with the feedback you’ve had so far, I note you say you only know your work commitments for up to four months in advance. Given you say you don’t have control over your work obligations past four months, I would not book further ahead than that. The exception would be if you were up front with the owners about that timeframe and they were still comfortable with booking you, knowing you may need to cancel but that you could give them a few months notice.
Sounds like that is a question only you know the answer to.
EVeryone has different circumstances and each person knows or should know what their personal gauge is.
Me, I have booked as far out as over a year. Barring recent restrictions, have never had anything come up that couldn’t be agreed upon between the parties involved.
We do the same as you, we don’t really feel comfortable booking more than 3-4 months in advance. We made that mistake a couple of times and usually the sit got cancelled by the HO (health, covid, family etc. came in the way). But I have also been reading that some people have had better experiences with booking far ahead and even get their flight tickets etc. early.
@SitterSandy Not only will other sitters’ answers vary greatly, but my own answer varies too. How I would do things now compared to prior to the pandemic would also vary. Whether I’ve sat for the person before makes a difference. Whether it’s a sit I’m driving to versus flying to also affects my decision. If there are upcoming events in my life that I can project may affect my ability, I take that into consideration.
The important thing is not what other sitters do, but what works for your circumstances and for any specific sit. I’m sorry but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. If you use the magnifying glass and search ‘cancel a sit’, you will find a few posts with other comments on this topic.
Listen to your gut and make sure you’ve done all you can to be sure that you will be able to do the sit, as you are making a commitment. There may be times when you will need to cancel, but make sure they were circumstances that were beyond your control and/or were not predictable.
@SitterSandy I think you have to go with your gut feeling. Everyone has different time scales. I am not an advance planner in general and the furthest ahead I’ve booked a Sit was 4 months- when creating a UK summer housesitting tour (just completed!) One of the Hosts early on booked us 2 more times during our 5 month tour as their dates just fitted perfectly. Another lovely host from a Sit in June subsequently invited us to Sit for them again in January and next July. We had to decline both- the first because we are always in the tropics in winter and the summer one because its simply too far ahead! At the mo we don’t even know where we’ll be over Christmas let alone next summer!
We’ve only ever cancelled one Sit and that was booked a month ahead but then the communication went wrong- long story- so we withdrew a couple of weeks later. Sonething just didn’t feel right. The hosts didn’t even seem to care!- they were so cool about it! But it confirmed our reasons for cancelling especially as there would have been a lot of costs involved for us- e.g host travel timings required us to fly in and overnight one night before & after. They only had a 1 bed appt so could not invite us but also did not offer to pay for our accomodation, or even share costs. That combined with lack of contact made us feel too unsure & unsupported to proceed with the Sit.
Thanks so much for your comments. Yes, I agree. I don’t think I’m ready to do bookings too far in advance yet due to my unknown work commitments. BUT when I retire and start sitting full-time, I can see the advantages to booking a year in advance etc. Thanks also for the canceled sit story. It sounds like that was the right thing to do. I’ve learned to follow my gut too. When I first stated siting, I’ve had sits where I regretted it within the first hour. From those experiences, I’ve learned to ask a lot more questions before committing to a sit… and learned what works for me and what doesn’t. Again, thanks for your sit stories. very helpful.
I have a sit booked for next August and it was arranged a month or so ago. I don’t think people should arrange a sit for any length of time if they are not 100% committed to it. Six weeks or six months, if you can’t commit to it then you shouldn’t arrange it. More and more I find that people say one thing but then something comes up that they prefer and that is excuse enough not to stay committed to an arrangement.
Sometimes there are emergencies or circumstances that force a change in plans but for me that doesn’t mean ‘unknown work or life future commitments’ An arrangement means you do know what you are doing in six months if you have arranged something for then! It’s called planning!!
Our best sits have been arranged >6 months in advance. People who plan well in advance are generally better organized and have nicer homes and well-behaved pets. It also gives us time to get to know the home owners - we banter back and forth on WhatsApp for months before the sit - they know us better, trust us more, and have a better feeling about their travel plans. Both sides understand that unexpected events could derail a sit. However, it has not happened to us yet (30+ sits and counting).
Totally agree with your assessment of the type of homeowner that plans 6 months or more in advance. Of course things come up and homeowners might need to post last minute sits. Nothing against those. But I feel that we are most compatible with the longer range planners. It gives us plenty of time to ask questions. And even more time to look forward to the sit.
I’ve booked 6 months out and I’ve booked a week out.
But once I’ve booked, I’m committed although I have had HOs cancel on me with long-ahead booked sits. Have decided those are just opportunities to find something else.
We housesat for 10 years and were booked 18 months in advance. If you end up with repeat sits the following year (which homeowners generally do because they are comfortable to go away again), you usually need to fill in the times between those repeat sits you get. So, grabbing as many sits as you can to fill in the year. Make sure you keep your calender up to date so you’re not accidentally double booking. We hardly had any cancellations. However, we did have a ton of repeats, so once a homeowner/sitter is comfortable, usually works well after that for everyone.
Thanks Therese! More than happy to help! We do have a massive amount of experience and we’re looking at sitting this year for a short time and then next year a full year with our daughter as a gap year.
I think that all sitters will have different answers to this question. In June 2022, I confirmed a repeat sit for Apr-Jun 2023. In Nov 2022, I confirmed a repeat sit for Aug-Oct 2023. I am fine with booking far ahead as I am a full-time nomadic sitter and free as a bird so I can commit to sits far in advance.
Last year, I also confirmed a long sit far in advance but sadly, the elderly cat who had been sickly died so it was cancelled.